New hope of new birth

Happy

Happy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God  children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. – John 1:12-13

I love to hear of new births. There is something about the birth of a baby that gives new hope to any situation. The baby’s life has been planned out by God. Their creation has purpose and is highly valued. They are part of a family and dearly loved.

New hope is also gained by being spiritually reborn. Becoming part of God’s family is a decision by an individual to follow the one who created them. This is an eternal decision that will make a difference in how the life of a believer is led. Choosing to focus on God rather than on the world will enable a person to reap the benefits of being a child of the King.

Each person has great value. Life is priceless. The world may send us the message of being unworthy, but God’s message is of our great significance. His son died in our place by his choice. That’s the ultimate action of love bestowed on us. God wants us with him forever.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for your sacrifice of Jesus to pay for my sin. This demonstration of your love cannot be greater. I choose to follow you and pray that my life exemplifies that choice today. Amen

Faith Tip: Think of someone you love dearly and what you would do for them. That will give you a hint of the great love God has for you.

Feeling Safe by Obeying

"Do You Feel Safer Now?" (Newton, NJ)

Image by takomabibelot via Flickr

Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.” – John 14:23

What images or feelings come to mind when you hear the word “obey”? If you are like many people, there is an instant resistance to be told what to do. This is part of our human nature and goes against what the world tells us in serving ourselves first. Think of the people you had to obey as you were growing up. There were parents, grandparents, babysitters, teachers, policemen, pastors and more. Although there was a tug inside not to obey, there may have been another underlying feeling of safety. Obeying those in authority that you trust gives you security.

Safety in God’s hands means to obey him. Rebelling against the Lord puts us in danger of hurting ourselves or others. There is no better way that we can show God that we love him than by listening and following his instructions. The journey God has us on is perfect as long as we obey.

Prayer: I thank you, Jesus, for the plan you have for my life. Forgive me for the times I have chosen another route. I pray that today I can listen closely to you and follow. Amen

Faith Tip: Make a choice at the beginning of the day that you are going to follow God. When you are tempted to disobey, focus on God to keep you on track.

Okay, who’s really being blessed?

29 Checkouts

Image by Seuss. via Flickr

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me’” (Matthew 25:40)

Milk, bananas and beans. That’s what the mother standing in line had at the checkout. Her two lovely children, must have been 5 years and younger, were patiently waiting. The card she was using to pay wasn’t working and she didn’t have any cash on her. She was embarrassed and discouraged and apologized as she began to move out of the aisle. Another woman called out to her to wait. She paid for the items for the woman with the children. Relief washed over the face of the mother, and surprisingly, over the clerk’s face. In fact, smiles were all around by all who witnessed the King at work through one of his disciples. God showed up. Not only were the mother and children blessed, but so was everyone else.

Giving to the Lord is never about a duty to perform. It is about experiencing God in a profound way personally. Answering the call of God gives you an opportunity to shine the light of Jesus to those who are the least of these…and who are they? Take a look in the mirror.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for the call you put on my life. I pray that I will never give you a busy signal when you call. I want to experience you and shine your light in areas of darkness. Amen

Faith Tip: Be alert to the call of God today and be ready to act.

Joy Restoration

Jesus on the wall of the senior Home

Image by freestone via Flickr

Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. (Psalm 51:12)

Sin creates chaos. Whenever we decide to go our own way and not God’s, we are walking a different path not meant for us. At first it may feel like the right way to go as we envision the things in life we will enjoy by our hand. We are certain that we will experience much joy. But then there is a patch of road that is bumpy, and we think that will pass and we will find smooth traveling again. Then we find parts of the road missing, or forks in the road and not knowing which way to go, and then finally we come to a dead end…the end of ourselves. We have forgotten the last time we experienced real joy in our travels for it has been so long.

A reminder comes to you. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest,” (Matthew 11:28). You remember the loving voice of Jesus. You think you are unworthy of any attention by God, but he still beckons you to come. He wraps his loving arms around you and tells you of his love and how glad he is to see you. The sadness you feel begins to feel like something else. What is it? Joy.

Prayer: Forgive me, Father, when I have chosen to go my way and not yours. Thank you for inviting me back into your loving arms and healing me so that I can experience your joy. Amen

Faith tip: Do you need a nice long hug from Jesus today? He’s ready.

Acceptance

A woman at the well

“Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.”- Romans 15:7

She cautiously walked to the well while others were away. She knew they had already gotten their water and now was a good time to get hers, so that she didn’t have to endure their stares and quiet talking between themselves. The loneliness ached deeply inside. They didn’t understand, she thought.

She looked up when she heard footsteps approaching. A man was walking to the well. Obviously someone not familiar with this area or they would not be approaching me, she sneered inside. Looking into His face, she saw kindness. He spoke to her without that condemning tone, but like He really cared about her. Didn’t He know about her, she thought? He did know. He still accepted her. Running off, she couldn’t wait to tell the others, who in the past have rejected her. She forgot her own view of herself, as well as theirs, and accepted His.

God’s view of who we are is the only view that is important. As we are being transformed into the likeness of Jesus, we must remember that view of ourselves and of others—and accept it.

Prayer: Lord, you are the one who gives me value. No other scale on earth compares with yours. Thank you for your great love and acceptance. I pray that I can show the same to others I come in contact with today. Amen

Faith Tip: Show the love and acceptance of Jesus to all you come in contact with today.